The Maine has mastered pop rock.
As soon as American Candy hit the market in 2015, The Maine extended its reach across a wider audience, with support from older and younger/new fans alike. As a continuation of the bands style 2015 American Candy-style, The Maine kept the pop-rocket party going on their first Single off 2017’s Lovely, Little, Lonely, with “Bad Behavior”.
This song stands as their most popular on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. I’ve set out to dissect the “why”. After 10 years as a band, it seems that it’d be hard to follow such an impactful and attention grabbing album like the melody-driven American Candy, but while the band remains in a sweet creative spot, I, as a fan, cannot complain about fiery new releases.
The bridge of this track, which is #2 on the album, showcases singer, Jon O’Callaghan’s strong vocals, drawing fans closer to the music. The song comes in powerfully amidst almost immediate beating drums and rhythmic guitar. However, the real grab lies in the synth during the verse, which gives the song a high to live up to for the remainder of the 3 minutes. You can hear the synth tune in as Jon’s voice trickles on the word “narcissistic” in the first verse. It’s almost as if it’s that noise of the girl’s voice that he hears from across the room at a bar, this is the troubled “bad behavior’d” girl he is about to approach.
Rapidly, the song picks up speed, steam, and leads to Jon dropping the “sex” bomb, just as proudly as he did in “English Girls” off American Candy. This brilliant line is highlighted repetitively throughout the song:
You say you like the sound of cigarettes after sex
And I say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah”
Whether or not the band is referring to the band Cigarettes After Sex or the actual act of smoking cigarettes after sex, it can be assumed that using the word “sex” in this song automatically converts it to a pop rock song, rather than just pop. It’s a line that’ll stick in the listeners’ minds, on repeat, just as “English Girls, they just like sex,” once did in the Maine’s song, “English Girls”. This song is all around badass, sexy, and arguably nostalgic of a kind of freedom.
The infectious rhythm of the song, right from the get go, is in the perfect steering-wheel-tap increments for a long drive. The pre-chorus builds up to the “yeah, yeah, yeah” which is surprisingly off in the distance, adding to the lighter overall feel of this album. Even in it’s most pressing moments, Jon is never screaming. There is a part of his voice that’s held back, itching to squirm out of his body, like a demon. But he can’t let it go, at least not in the studio version. There seems to be a lot of pain built up in his vocals, maybe even years of it. It feels deeper because you can feel the amount that is missing. You hear more of the sound that isn’t being showcased than what is and even then, it’s bearable and intriguing. That is what makes The Maine so special.
Before the last chorus, there is clearance in the music, as a crowd would separate before moshing, so does the gap between the music and earth. As it floats higher, the more pressure gravity places on the sound, and you can feel it drop harder than ever, as they let out the last, repeated, crazily catchy chorus.
Of course, the best part of this album are the transitions between songs, blending them seamlessly from one to the next. The Maine’s interludes force fans of all ages to listen through the album, instead of just to it.
by Bri Born